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  • Author or Editor: H. Jay Harvey x
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To characterize clinical features, comorbidities, frequency of bacterial isolation, and survival time in cats with suppurative cholangitis-cholangiohepatitis syndrome (S-CCHS).


168 client-owned cats with S-CCHS.


Data were prospectively (1980 to 2019) collected regarding clinical features, comorbidities, bacterial infection, illness duration, and treatments. Variables were evaluated for associations with survival time.


Median age of cats was 10.0 years, with no breed or sex predilection observed. Common clinical features included hyporexia (82%), hyperbilirubinemia (80%), lethargy (80%), vomiting (80%), jaundice (67%), weight loss (54%), and hypoalbuminemia (50%). Comorbidities included extrahepatic bile duct obstruction (53%), cholelithiasis (42%), cholecystitis (40%), and ductal plate malformation (44%) as well as biopsy-confirmed inflammatory bowel disease (60/68 [88%]) and pancreatitis (41/44 [93%]). Bacterial cultures were commonly positive (69%) despite prebiopsy antimicrobial administration in most cats. Of surgically confirmed choleliths, diagnostic imaging identified only 58%. Among 55 cats with “idiopathic pancreatitis,” 28 (51%) were documented to have transiting choleliths, and 20 had pancreatic biopsies confirming pancreatitis. Cholelithiasis (with or without bile duct obstruction) and cholecystectomy were associated with survival advantages. Survival disadvantages were found for leukocytosis, ≥ 2-fold increased alkaline phosphatase, and hyperbilirubinemia. Cholecystoenterostomy had no survival impact. Cats with ductal plate malformations were significantly younger at diagnosis and death than other cats. Chronic treatments with antimicrobials, S-adenosylmethionine, and ursodeoxycholic acid were common postbiopsy.


S-CCHS in cats was associated with bacterial infection and various comorbidities and may be confused with pancreatitis. Surgically correctable morbidities (ie, cholecystitis, cholecystocholelithiasis) and cholecystectomy provided a significant survival advantage.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association